Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday released a memo countering key claims made by their Republican colleagues, the latest chapter in Republican efforts to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian efforts.
The 10-page document reads: “FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.”
Republicans on the committee, led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), voted earlier this month to release a memo that they said contains evidence illustrating FBI bias against Trump, meant to discredit the larger investigation. Trump later authorized the memo’s release, the contents of which largely confirmed previous reporting on the investigation rather than presenting any new bombshells.
Democrats have argued that the GOP memo is purely political and relies on cherry-picked evidence and inaccuracies. The Republican-controlled committee initially voted against releasing its rebuttal, setting off drama surrounding the dueling memos.
But after unveiling the GOP memo, which Republicans continually claimed was a measure of “transparency,” the committee on Monday voted unanimously to make the Democratic rebuttal public, sending it to Trump for approval.
Trump said he would “accept the recommendations of the FBI” regarding the release of the Democratic memo, CNN reported on Feb. 6. When deciding to release the original GOP memo, Trump ignored “grave concerns” from the FBI, setting up a public feud between himself and the bureau’s director, Chris Wray, whom he appointed.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, said at the time that he was concerned about the White House omitting portions of the Democratic memo’s claims for political purposes.